FastRawViewer update refines interface, pairs better with Adobe apps


posted Friday, December 5, 2014 at 7:53 PM EDT


If raw shooting is par for the course in your workflow, you're typically faced with a choice: See lower-quality JPEG previews of your images when browsing, or wait what seems like an eternity to switch between real-time rendered raw previews. There's one app that provides the best of both worlds, though -- the quite accurately-named FastRawViewer.

Available for Windows and Mac OS systems, FastRawViewer doesn't cheat with embedded JPEG previews, yet it's still fast enough to make raw file browsing a pleasant experience. (And it's also able to show embedded JPEG previews or the JPEG equivalent image from a raw+JPEG pair, if you want to compare the in-camera rendering to the original raw file.) Add in a bunch of handy tools such as image rating and labeling, EXIF info, histogram and clipping / blocking indication, plus focus peaking displays, and FastRawViewer makes for a great way to tame your raw image library.

FastRawViewer shows you a real-time rendered raw preview by default, rather than the embedded or pre-rendered JPEG previews used by most apps.

And now it's even better, courtesy of the just-released version 1.0.1 update, which makes improvements that align the app more closely with Adobe's popular Photoshop Camera Raw and Lightroom apps, as well as some smart UI refinements. Changes in FastRawViewer version 1.0.1 are as follows:

  • The Auto Exposure indication and the behavior of the program now default to align with Adobe RAW converters (Camera Raw/Lightroom).

  • New setting Image Display - Apply Adobe hidden exposure correction

    • If this setting is "on" (default), exposure correction is aligned with the one that is indicated in Adobe converters (that is Adobe Baseline exposure compensation is added),

    • If the exposure correction is set to zero or is "off", the brightness of the image is aligned to the brightness to the Adobe converters with the exposure correction set to zero.

  • The setting Keep exposure correction on next file is replaced with Exposure correction on file open:

    • No correction (default) - if selected, no exposure correction is applied

    • Autoexposure - if selected, Automatic exposure correction is applied

    • Keep from prev. file - if selected, the exposure correction is inherited from the previous file (for the first file in session exposure correction is set to zero).

    • New setting does not allow to fully emulate the behavior of previous versions for the case if automatic exposure correction for the first file + "keep correction on next" were in use; to handle this, please press Shift-A once in working session (on first file).

A handy feature of FastRawViewer is that you can preview the individual red, green or blue channels separately. Here, we're looking at the green channel.
  • Automatic exposure correction logic reworked and enhanced. New settings in Preferences - Image display:

    • For Automatic exposure correction:

      • Fixed exposure shift - if selected, a fixed exposure correction is applied  (Adobe hidden exposure compensation is added to the value)

      • ETTR-style autoexposure (shift histogram to the right) - if selected, the Auto Exposure correction is calculated so that the histogram is shifted to the right.

    • to control the ETTR-style Auto exposure you can set the limit:

      • Unlimited - no limit

      • Hard limit - a hard limit

      • Virtual ISO (default) - soft limit, which depends on the ISO setting at which the image was captured.

  • Settings for Adobe Exposure Difference are moved from XMP tab to Exposure tab:

    • Replaced: Use Builtin Adobe/FRV exposure difference when possible and Adobe/FRV exposure difference for other files with: Image Display - Override Adobe exposure correction to NN EV.

  • The setting for Image Zoom on next file is moved to Interface tab

  • For OS X Color Management is enabled by default.

  • The description of the system monitor profile is displayed in Preferences - Color Management.

  • The program now starts with the screen size it had previously. The last size of the program window before going to fullscreen/maximize is stored in the settings.

  • Deleted settings

    • Start in fullscreen

    • Remember maximized window state

  • Increase exposure: shortcut Alt+= is added

  • New setting for EXIF display window: Show row labels (enabled by default). If it is turned off, only the values from EXIF will be shown and the names (like Shutter, Aperture, etc.) will be omitted. This is intended for the case when only few fields from EXIF are displayed and their meanings are obvious without annotation

FastRawViewer also provides two different focus peaking displays that help you see where focus lies in your raw or JPEG images. Here, it's on the pillar at left.

​Available immediately, FastRawViewer can be downloaded for a 30-day preview. Almost all camera raw formats are supported, including both converted and out-of-camera DNG, although Sigma's Foveon raw files aren't supported and the embedded JPEG is displayed instead for these. Ordinarily priced at US$20, you can purchase FastRawViewer for just US$15 through January 31, 2015.

More details can be found on the FastRawViewer website.